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Aims and Assessment

Aims and Objectives

  • Obtaining knowledge of the processes which made the early modern world increasingly interconnected
  • Engaging with key concepts such as “clash of civilizations”, “middle ground”, “contact zone”, “go-between” and “transculturation”
  • Critically examining the notion of European exceptionalism in world history
  • Analysing a range of textual and visual sources through a multi-disciplinary lens
  • Processing primary and secondary source material and communicating ideas both orally and in writing
  • Developing research skills, historiographical engagement, presentation skills, and critical analysis through individual and group work


This module will be assessed through individual and group work as follows:

  • Seminar Contribution (formative)
  • Group work project: (video) blog + presentation (20%)
  • 2,500-word essay (60%)
  • 1,000-word source analysis (20%)

    Seminar Contribution

    As a module consisting entirely of 2-hour seminars, seminar participation is essential. This consists of arriving prepared by doing the weekly readings and thinking about the set seminar questions in advance, as well as through active contribution to class discussions led by the tutor or fellow students. Additionally, each student will on one occasion introduce one of the required readings to the group to open the discussion.

    Group Work Project: (Video) Blog + Presentation (Wednesday, Week 8)

    In groups of 3 to 4 students you will present a focused case study pertaining to theme of border-crossing in the early modern world, using a variety of media. You should structure the discussion of your chosen individual(s), community(ies), or concept(s) around a relevant historical question. This group exercise consists of two parts:

    1) a textual and visual presentation of your findings in a blog (e.g. Wordpress) or vlog (e.g. on Youtube or Vimeo).

    - This exercise does not have a set length, yet remember to include that information necessary to explain and document your findings. As an indication, think of 10-12 minutes of video content or 3,000 words of blog text.

    You are encouraged to cover the following:

    • Justification of your chosen topic and question
    • Explanation of your findings and why they matter
    • Potential for further research

    2) a 12-15-minute oral presentation of your project, using audiovisual media (e.g. Powerpoint, Prezi, video).

    - This is the spoken version of your digital project and your chance to show and explain your project to your peers, including any unexpected finds and challenges encountered during the research process.

    NOTE: each group member must submit the project via Tabula individually. You can choose to upload the file directly (if e.g. a video) or to upload a document containing the weblink to your project (if e.g. on Wordpress or Youtube). See Presentation Marking Scale and Workshop for more info.

    2,500-word Essay (Wednesday, Week 10)

    Your final essay (2,500 words) should be framed around a relevant historical question related to the theme of the module, which may be one of the weekly seminar questions or a question of your own choosing. You are encouraged to adopt a comparative perspective, e.g. by incorporating examples and materials from different time periods and/or from different parts of the world.

    Your essay should engage with both secondary literature and primary sources. These may overlap with materials analysed in the Primary Source Review or Group Work Project, yet substantial development is required. Essays should be submitted via Tabula in accordance with Departmental rules. See Tabula for submission deadlines.

    20-point Marking Scale

    1,000-word Source Review (Wednesday, Week 1 of Term 3)

    Select a primary source (e.g. travel account, object, painting, chronicle) from the Links and Sources page (including Online Resources) and write your own 1,000-word analysis. The review should do at least the following:

    1. Briefly situate and describe the source and its historical significance
    2. Explain in what way(s) the source or its author/maker functioned as a go-between
    3. Discuss what the source tells us about mediation and/or border crossings in the early modern world. Relate your discussion to the secondary literature you have read for this course: how does it confirm, contest, or nuance existing views? (provide references and a bibliography).

    Make sure that you identify concrete passages from the source and explain how they help us understand the author's perspective and/or shed light on processes of mediation, experiences of boundary-crossing, or the effects of these on the people and places discussed (where relevant).

    20-point Marking Scale